Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Android Iphone Handhelds Input Devices

Siri Envy? Iris Brings Some Voice-Assistant Features to Android 402

Posted by timothy
from the backhanded-compliment dept.
Of all the upgrades that distinguish the new iPhone 4S from its predecessors, probably the feature that's gotten the most attention is the voice-based personal assistant app called Siri, which allows a user to accomplish certain tasks almost entirely by voice. A few days ago, as reported by TechCrunch, a team of Android developers came up with an Android equivalent to Siri called Iris (spell that backwards). It took them only 8 hours to have a working, if imperfect, app to play with and submit to the Android Market. This quick video review of Iris says the app is unpolished, but shows promise. For now, it generates some accurate results, and some amusing ones.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Siri Envy? Iris Brings Some Voice-Assistant Features to Android

Comments Filter:
  • Just like Siri... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 22, 2011 @07:41PM (#37806826)

    Except not at all. Complete misses the point, again.

  • Re:Jeez (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nidi62 (1525137) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @07:57PM (#37806920)

    Does Android do anything original?

    Because Siri is original? And so is a black rectangle with rounded edges?

  • by sarhjinian (94086) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @08:04PM (#37806958)

    It's close enough for spec-sheet comparisons, which is pretty much what many Android manufacturers (and more than a few fans of the platform) fall back on.

    Butbubut, it's got Super-Ultra-XVSAMOLED, 4+MEGA LTE-MAX and 2TB of flash. As soon as Fruitcake or Peach Flan comes out, it'll totally crush iOS!! Well, yeah, right now it might be a little buggy, and yeah, the interface hangs on occasion, and perhaps it's limited to 3G until the manufacturer releases an update that your carrier might not actually support, but the potential is there! Honest!

    Disclosure: I have, and really like, my BlackBerry 9900; I've no skin in this game per se, but Apple really does present a cohesive, usable platform with most of the rough edges filed off. Maybe, maybe ICS will have closed the gap, but this kind of relentless focus on user experience isn't really Android's forte any more than Ubuntu comes even remotely close to Mac OS X.

    Disclosure 2: I own both a PlayBook, iPad and LG Optimus Pad. The first and last, despite having box specs that more or less than meet Apple's unit, don't best the daily experience. For example, the PlayBook can play back 1080p; the iPad can maybe manage 720p, but the PlayBook's browser stutters and it's a bastard to type on and it lacks native e-mail. The LG has an even more broken browser (yes, you can get alternatives; they're not much better than stock) and a marginally-better keyboard, and the home screen stutters. How, in this day and age, can you ship a tablet with a subpar browser and mail client, when the 800lb Gorilla in the market nails all the basics perfectly. So they can both play back 1080p and both support Flash? So what?

    Half-assed chasing of Siri is the same kind of thing. Apple doesn't own a big chunk of the market (and a bigger chunk of it's profits) because they have the most powerful, first out of the blocks and/or most open. They're doing it because their stuff doesn't exceed consumers' fiddle tolerance.

  • by sarhjinian (94086) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @08:09PM (#37806982)

    Apple didn't shout "Me too!". They quietly demonstrated how well it worked.

    There are people who are going to think Apple did it first, just like they do with GUIs, smartphones and tablets. The onus is on the whole rest of the industry to start delivering products and services that work as well as Apple's do so that Apple can't keep using that strategy. Currently, the whole rest of the industry seems content to look like chumps and, yes, "Me-too"-ists.

  • Re:Jeez (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @08:10PM (#37806986) Homepage

    Does Android do anything original?

    Yes. They don't do the whole walled garden thing, and there are many Android phones not all made by the same company.

    You know, Steve Jobs wanted to "help the world" yet at the same time, keep all innovation and barriers to entry high and out reach from many citizens ability to afford. Well Steve, you may be a genius. But you're still another baby-boomer hippie asshole!!!

  • by ghjm (8918) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @08:54PM (#37807186) Homepage

    I have an HTC Evo and an Apple iPad, so I'm well aware of the capabilities and limitations of both Android and iOS. Yes, there are some rough edges on Android, but there are rough edges on iOS as well. Copy and paste doesn't work very well, multitasking is (by design) mostly nonexistent, and there are many missing features. (For example, I would fuck a water buffalo to get Swype on iOS.) Cursor positioning is also better on Android.

    This idea that Apple products are magically easy-to-use and perfectly polished is BS. They are good products, usually with fantastic industrial design, and usually very attractive to look at. But there's no magic to the user interface, and Android is really every bit as good.

  • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@kHORSEe ... minus herbivore> on Saturday October 22, 2011 @08:59PM (#37807204) Homepage

    I think anyone in the media talking up Siri has never actually tried to use the thing. It hardly every understands what you want the first time without clarification, it doesn't work without a constant network location, it can't read back any answers to queries (just pops stuff up on the screen)... its pretty much useless as a real voice control solution. And yes, I *DO HAVE IT* unlike some reviewers.

  • by shadowfaxcrx (1736978) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @09:03PM (#37807222)

    Considering Apple is pushing Siri but explaining away all it's faults by claiming "uh, well, it's uh. . Still in beta," I'd say your entire post is moot.

    Siri is a gimick. It doesn't make the phone any more useful. Neither does Iris. Having a dick-measuring contest between the two is stupid, especially since they BOTH suck right now, and BOTH will presumably get better.

  • by netsharc (195805) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @09:25PM (#37807326)

    Yeah, the first iPhone OS was well thought-of and intuitive, but after that it just relies on the user having to know some secrets to get it to work, e.g., who would've figured out that double-tapping the Home button on the lock screen would load Siri? That to move icons, group or delete apps on the home screen you have to hold them until they wiggle, and to group them you have to drag one onto another? Intuitive my butt...

    Not that Android apps are any better. On some apps, hitting back actually means "go to the previous screen", even if that means leaving that app. But on my music player, if I load it, it goes to the "Now Playing" screen, which is the least useful screen since I can pause or skip songs on that screen, but I can do that from outside the app as well, so why would it show me that screen? Ok this is just nitpicking, it can't read my mind. But usually I open up the music app because I want to load up a different song. So I press the music app icon, I see the "Now playing" screen. Let's see, how do I see all songs? I press the menu button. No such option. I hit back. Ah, there it is. Real fucking intuitive..!

  • by hedwards (940851) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @09:31PM (#37807354)

    And so is the equivalent that Google Voice Actions provides, apart from not being able to set appointments, I don't see anything that Siri can do that Google Voice Actions can't. The only major difference I see is natural language support with Siri, but it's still limited to the same basic list of tasks and comes with the downside of having to figure out what's being said and match that up to a particular command rather than just identifying the command.

    Looking at the list of Siri features, I'm not seeing anything that makes me want Siri.

  • by ghjm (8918) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @09:33PM (#37807372) Homepage

    I agree that the inconsistent behavior of the back button in Android apps is annoying, but at least the back button doesn't move around. The thing I find most irritating about iOS is that there is *no* standard for in-app behavior. If I want to go back to the previous screen, I have to hunt around for the appropriate button, figure out what the developer decided to call it, etc, etc.

  • by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @09:36PM (#37807382)

    Siri is a gimick. It doesn't make the phone any more useful.

    I used to think this about voice control, then Apple made it work in the iPhone 4 and now I use it a lot. Everything is a gimmick until someone does it well enough.

  • by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @09:43PM (#37807412)

    It doesn't matter if you're the first to do it, what matters is if you're the first to do it well and are successful at it. Ford wasn't the first to make cars, and yet he's remembered as the father of the modern car industry. The dustbin of history is filled with failures who were there first ( and Apple nearly went in that dustbin once.)

  • by sarhjinian (94086) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @09:44PM (#37807418)

    Yes, there are some rough edges on Android, but there are rough edges on iOS as well. Copy and paste doesn't work very well,

    It doesn't work well on any handheld platform, but it's deplorable Android (and especially on Honeycomb), for example. Apple, at least, gives you a magnifying bubble that makes it possible to select text and place the cursor. On Android it's a total crapshoot.

    BlackBerry does it best for power users, but only because of the optical trackpad and real cursor, but iOS actually does this quite well in that most people can figure it out. Android? No

    multitasking is (by design) mostly nonexistent

    Ah, I see. You've mistaken "rough edges" for "design decisions that don't jive with my preconceptions". Yes, iOS doesn't do multitasking well by design. That's because smartphone multitasking generally does not work well, that the devices aren't designed for it, that people don't really use it, and that Apple only added it once processing power made it reasonable, and that Apple's method for dealing with it, while crippled, works well for the way these things are used.

    Full multitasking makes sense in a multiwindow environment. It's useless on a device designed around an interface that's single-app-full-screen.

    Again, I'll bring this back to BlackBerry terms. RIM made a big deal about how the PlayBook lets you set multitasking behaviour; it was supposed to be a big advantage over iOS. No one, it turns out, gives a damn because they don't use the tablet in such a way that multitasking mode makes any sense. It's even more irrelevant a feature than Flash.

    For example, I would fuck a water buffalo to get Swype on iOS.)

    Most people wouldn't bother with Swype. I mean, yes, it works, but it would piss off 95% of consumers. It's worse than Graffiti in that it requires you to re-learn something so basic and fundamental that it's practically intuitive.

    Cursor positioning is also better on Android.

    That's just crazy talk. It's passable on phones (and has gotten worse since most phones dropped the G1-style hardware cursor control) and utterly wretched on Honeycomb tablets, where accurate placement is much, much harder than on the iPad.

    This idea that Apple products are magically easy-to-use and perfectly polished is BS. They are good products, usually with fantastic industrial design, and usually very attractive to look at. But there's no magic to the user interface, and Android is really every bit as good.

    They're not "magically" easier to use, but Apple does sweat the small stuff much, much better and doesn't pump stuff out that isn't really ready. That's the "special sauce", as it were. And no, Android is not every bit as good. Android does certain things well, and it works for people who can accept the rough edges and work past them, but it's not "as good" in that respect.

    Calling it "magic" is really part of the problem: that's how Android fans have either failed to understand and/or tried to discount what Apple has done. As soon as you get over the attitude that it isn't magic, that it isn't about the RDF, ooh-shiny-marketing or hipster factors---in short, shedding the Android Victimhood Syndrome---you'll be able to understand that putting design and usability first, as Apple does, really matters in this market.

    If it didn't, Apple wouldn't be raking it in on devices that are easily several months to a year behind the Next Big Android Handset.

  • by immaterial (1520413) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @11:44PM (#37807800)
    Exactly. Might as well say "The GUI is a gimmick. It doesn't make the phone any more useful." because you can do things via the command line instead. The command line is in many ways more flexible and more powerful, but for a lot of everyday tasks a GUI is just plain simpler and faster.

    I use Siri all the time, even when I'm not driving/hiding the phone in my jacket. Earlier today, I told Siri, "Remind me when I leave the house in the morning, or by noon, that I need to stop by Mom's house and fix her router." 5 seconds to say + 5 seconds for Siri to process and confirm, and my reminder was set up. I certainly could have done this manually, but Find Reminders app -> Open Reminders app -> Add new reminder -> Add "when I leave the house" geofence criterion -> Add "At noon tomorrow" criterion -> Type "Stop by Mom's house and fix her router" into description field -> Save is unquestionably going to take longer.

    Voice control is far more than just a gimmick.
  • by Keen Anthony (762006) on Sunday October 23, 2011 @01:58AM (#37808076)
    Good question about younger generations. Just accept that the younger generation can never full grasp history because they will only ever learn about the products that either made it or that became legendary despite failing. That's why living it firsthand is such an awesome thing. That said, I'm tired of people with that Tourette Syndrome-like need to point out that Apple didn't invent X or Y. Apple is constantly the first to deliver new technologies as stock as opposed to a third-party tacked on upgrade. Regarding Siri, I truly don't give a damn if Apple didn't create the technology behind it. From all I've read, Apple hasn't attempted to conceal the fact that the tech comes from elsewhere, and I know of no Apple fanatics who are declaring that Apple invented it. What I have seen are Apple haters claim that Apple lovers are constantly making such statements. Apple merely has masterfully integrated that technology with a good product, and then shipped that product out to customers at a price that makes the product very accessible. And because Apple excels at doing this, Apple creates new markets and reduces the risks for the guys who follow. That is pure genius. And I say this as I look a Moto Xoom and wonder to myself: $800? How the hell did Motorola expect to sell any? Now, I don't know if I can ever use Siri. For me, there's something eerie about talking to a computer device and having it talk back. No thanks. I'd stick to good old Virtual Girlfriend Teri!
  • by bloodhawk (813939) on Sunday October 23, 2011 @05:27AM (#37808596)
    I had a good laugh all week at a few people trying to use the FAIL that is Siri at work, it seems apple forgot that the majority of the world doesn't talk with an american accent. It is less accurate than the voice activation on phones from 4 or 5 years ago.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 24, 2011 @01:19AM (#37814356)
    Shut the fuck up, whiny little Mactard.

    Also your wife is a fat whore. She takes the nigger dick up her ass.

Information is the inverse of entropy.

Working...